By a Newsnet reporter
Conservative Health Minister Andrew Lansley has come under fire after refusing to speak with protestors angry about proposed changes to the English NHS.
Mr Lansley was visiting the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead on Monday afternoon when he was confronted by a small group of protestors with placards denouncing planned reforms to the health service south of the border.

The UK Minister was confronted by Dr Ron Singer, a retired GP with 30 years’ experience.  Dr Singer is also President of the General Practitioner’s Union.

However, surrounded by police officers and security guards, Mr Lansley ignored the retired GP who loudly condemned the planned reforms to the English NHS.

Unable to get near the Minister, a frustrated Dr Singer shouted:

“I’m a doctor of 30 years Mr Lansley, explain to me how this is going to make patients better, because nobody understands your bill.”

“It has a thousand amendments because it was so poorly drafted.” he added.

As Lansley walked on, ignoring the Doctor, police officers could be seen physically preventing what appeared to be an elderly protestor from getting near the Minister.

The lady is believed to be June Hautot, a former Unison rep who had already confronted Mr Lansley after a similar protest outside Downing Street in February.

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Planned reforms to the NHS in England include giving GPs control of much of the NHS budget and opening up the health service to greater competition from the private and voluntary sector.

The reforms have proved controversial in England with Dr Graham Winyard, an ex-deputy chief medical officer and medical director of the NHS in England, informing Nick Clegg in a letter that “with great sadness” he was leaving the Lib Dems over the party’s stance on the reforms.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary for England, Andy Burnham has called for Lib Dems to join Labour in order to defeat several amendments to the Health Bill. However Mr Burnham’s own party have faced charges of hypocrisy after a motion tabled by Mr Burnham in which he praised the involvement of the private sector in the English NHS.

Supporters of the motion, which hailed the private sector’s “important role”, included Scottish MPs Margaret Curran and Anas Sarwar.

The Health reforms will have no effect in Scotland where the NHS is directly under the control of the Scottish Government.


2012-03-06 18:55

Coming soon to a health service near you – unless we ditch Westminster… because no doubt control of our own health service will be one of the many things brought back under their control if we lose the referendum.
2012-03-06 20:26

Indeed, with control over our own money we could not only simply maintain our Health Service, but expand it to encompass the range of new knowledge and advanced techniques.

2012-03-06 18:56

Out of the countless news reports I’ve seen regarding this bill on tv (ok, I’ve not seen them all, but have see quite a few) – I’ve not heard one journalist ask the blindingly obvious question-

‘If GP’s are now to become accountants and take charge of the budgets, when are they going to find time in their working day to do this ?’

Or are they going to work 17hour days ?

Or do they stop practising medicine in order to ‘do the books’ ? (something that takes many years of study to achieve)
2012-03-06 20:28

They’re not going to do it. They’re going to pay other people to do it for them. And that payment will come out of their budget for commissioning care.
2012-03-06 23:01

Exactly. Managers (good ones) ensure a tight ship and are cheaper pro rata than a GP. They also free us to see patients and hopefully do a far better job at managing day to day business. The issue with ‘bureaucracies’ is not that they exist, but how they are run/directed. A good manager works with clinical staff to ensure that they work in the best interest of patients. Also, it follows that if we have the same clinical workload and extra managerial duties we either work longer hours (not safe) or employ extra doctors (not efficient). And where will these medics magically appear from?

Having non-clinical managers portrayed as an axiomatic “bad thing” is lazy thinking (and an excuse the Tories are using to drive through this rotten reform)

border reiver
2012-03-06 19:09

This is no doubt the Tories positive vision for Scotland? along with presciption charges of £7.40p per item (rising to £7.80p in April) and parking charges at most NHS hospitals. Its no wonder why they wont tell people what Cameron meant by his jam tomorrow promise, sounds like it will be prune flavoured
2012-03-06 19:36

Labour are opportunists – they are against everything without stating what they would do and how they would fund it.

Andy Burnham opened the door!

I’m glad that we will be following a different path 😀
edinburgh quine
2012-03-06 19:45

Yeah, but look out Scotland if we dont get independence. Devo plus/max/lite/skinny/fatty/heavy whatever. They’ll all be in the gift of London and our current service, flawed as it is, could be a damn site worse.

Curren and Sarwar think it’s great?????????????????????? What the hell has happened to the labour party?
2012-03-06 19:57

Sorry…I keep going off topic…I wish there was a ‘snippets’ section where info could be posted and left to be further developed or not.
BBC Scotland and the ‘political discussion’ about Vince Cable’s letter.…/…

He writes ” is the need for strategic and long term thinking about supply chains and the role played in them by public procurement decisions. …Tata among others, express great frustration in this area”

Our very own BBC set up scene where of course the Scottish Govt was maligned yet again for not using Scottish steel.
2012-03-06 20:49


Our very own BBC set up scene where of course the Scottish Govt was maligned yet again for not using Scottish steel.

I noticed that too but when you read the letter you find that Mr Cable was talking about the procurement rules inherited from Labour. Furthermore he lists various companies which have lost out recently such as Bombardier. The quote from the letter said:

” None of these[Bombardie  r*, Rio Tinto and Alcan] can be blamed on the Coalition, but the policies we inherited have played a role: notably, our procurement rules in the case of Bombardier, but also our planning rules in the case of Pinewood Studios being denied planning permission.”

*Bombardier builds rolling stock and lost a contract which, if I remember correctly, went to Siemens.

So the BBC managed to miss(report) one of the main points Mr Cable was making: namely, about procurement rules. I should imagine the Scottish Government would support his criticism of these rules too. The mention of Tata in the letter is not about any specific contract but just talked about the company’s frustration in general with the procurement process.

These rules make a nonsense of trying to kick-start the economy by undertaking infrastructure projects when the bulk of the money goes to overseas companies because of procurement rules which is one of the points Mr Cable was making.

Although Longannet was not mentioned by name I think it was perhaps implied in the section on Energy.

I thought a lot of what he said in the letter was common sense.


2012-03-06 20:00

Sorry for being O/T and apologies if someone has already posted about this –…/…

Something eerily familiar here!
2012-03-06 20:03

It’s like she never went away……/…
2012-03-06 20:15

Hi, Folks.
Sorry to go slightly off subject here, but the BBC Scotland News & Sports websites are running a pop opinion survey, within a few seconds of you viewing the page. I just gave my view on their political reporting, when they asked what i dislike about BBC Scotland news.
2012-03-06 20:28

I’ve responded to a number of BBC surveys like this over the last few years. In that time my view of the BBC has changed and not for the better. Had a right rant last time about pro-unionist anti-SNP anti-independence bias.

If others feel like me then the BBC will have to take notice of the trend – at least I hope they will.
2012-03-06 20:29

Canvassing opinions is one thing – acting positively on the views is something quite different

2012-03-06 20:24

Good article, just one minor point:
“The Health reforms will have no effect in Scotland where the NHS is directly under the control of the Scottish Government.”

‘no effect’ should be changed to no direct effect. Eg. Changes in English spending impact the Scottish budget regardless of SG policy and this is about reducing spending.
J Wil
2012-03-06 20:33

A little bit of the fear factor would be beneficial to the independence cause in this case. The fear that Scotland could be next if Labour gets its way, as they had been moving in that direction already.

In this case the fear factor would not be a blatant lie, unlike unionist lies.
2012-03-06 21:00

Since the General Practitioners Union was, I believe, on of the groups not invited to the meeting last week with Lansley, I suppose the only way their President could put his point across was to accost him in the street. I,m more concerned about your report of an elderly lady protester being restrained by police preventing her from getting close to the Health Minister. So they, the police, can stand idly by last August, when London, and other English cities are engulfed by riots, people assaulted, and property destroyed, but dealing with one old lady, nae bother. I remember a Question Time programme last year from Liverpool, when Alex Salmond warned of the Tories plan to privatise the N.H.S in England and Wales, by the back door. He received a thunderous round of applause from what I would imagine was a predominately English audience. I wonder what, Jackie, “nae blankets, or is it bed pans” Baillie, thinks of this, and her partys treacherous alliance with the ConDems, who, if they could, would impose the same cack-handed plan on Scotland.
2012-03-07 09:30

Going off line but this article is of interest I think.…/…
2012-03-07 10:30

This is Alex Massie’s latest piece in the Spectator re our NHS etc.…/…
2012-03-07 12:14

All western governments, including an independent Scotland, will in the end have to make tough choices, IE cuts to their welfare programmes, and these will be regarded as brutal by current standards. The question is “Who do you want to be in charge of this process, Westminster or Holyrood?”

Note, first, that the US health system costs 18% of its GDP, the German one 10% and the UK under 9% (Financial Web figures)?
Note, second, that the US Health companies form the most profitable sector on the US stock exchanges, pay their CEOs the largest salaries – EG the CEO of McKesson 145 Million dollars last year, and maintain the second biggest lobby in Washington.
Note, third, that Labour peer Lord Carter as well as being Chairman of the NHS competition panel, is also a senior director of McKesson, the US health giant, that in 2009 Oliver Letwin, senior conservative advisor, told US health companies that “the NHS will be open for business in 2011”, that the private office of Andrew Lansley, coalition minister for health, was paid for by John Nash, chairman of Care UK, a UK private health company.

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